The creator of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) has told the Digital Health Rewired audience the project is pivoted around empowering the patient.

In his morning keynote, which opened day one of Rewired (March 15), Grahame Grieve spoke about how FHIR, which is the leading healthcare data exchange standard of the future, is “very much patient focused”.

“A key thing is the patient focus – to empower the patient and improve their lives – those things are not always the same but they are very tightly related,” he added.

Grieve, who has a background in laboratory medicine and software vendor development, also highlighted a key focus around the world at the moment is to “get data into the hands of the patients”, but that might not necessarily be what the patient wants.

“What really makes a different to people is not data but services, but data is a pre-condition to be able provide those services,” he said.

“What we believe in, in the FHIR project, is that services pivot around the patients and around the provider…those are the people that we want to empower, we want institutions to serve them, rather than the other way around.”

NHS Digital defines FHIR as “part of an international family of standards developed by Health Level-7 (HL7)” which “provide a means of sharing health and care information between providers and their systems no matter what setting care is delivered in”.

As someone who has conceived, developed and sold interoperability and clinical document solutions, and products in the Australian and global market, Grieve understands the challenges that come with FHIR, saying that technology isn’t the problem anymore.

“Our challenge now is seamless information management across the board, that means good information and good management, and those things are hard – we know that they’re hard, because they require investment and people have to believe to invest,” he told the Rewired audience.

Community is at the heart of FHIR, Grieve said, calling it “the real magic”, adding that the project is a community first and a set of technical specifications second.

“I invite all of you to come and join the FHIR community, to some degree or other, to contribute your knowledge,” he said.

“Everybody thinks there is something that could be better in FHIR, it’s a set of compromises, built out of a community and community agreements, come and be part of that, or even better, create a new community that creates new agreements, that build new capabilities.”

Digital Health Rewired 2021 is running from 15-19 March and is free for everyone from NHS, public sector, independent providers, charities and education sectors, plus start-ups less than three-years old.

You can book your place here